There was a time when the left’s stance on nuclear energy appeared a foregone conclusion. In recent years, however, many environmental groups have very quietly softened their opposition. Nuclear energy quite simply isn’t a threat to humanity in any way that is even comparable to fossil fuels, and whilst the uranium required for nuclear power does come ‘from the ground’, it is fairly abundant and far more evenly distributed across the globe than oil or gas. Although it’s evident nuclear energy isn’t anywhere near the top of most green agendas anymore – if it features at all – the pressure of the carbon reduction targets we need to achieve means having a conversation about the options available to us to decarbonise within the shortest time-frame possible, whilst simultaneously strategising about the future of energy production for decades to come. In that context, is it time for the left to actively support nuclear energy? Clearly, if a 100% renewable grid was technically feasible tomorrow or in five years it would be preferable, likewise if the UK had access to geothermal power or masses of hydroelectricity. It might be more desirable still if we had properly international grids, where we could collectively make use of different geographies to best harness natural energy. The left may have wins to come on all these things, just as it has already succeeded somewhat in forcing the discourse on climate targets. But for the same reason, we should stop being shy about nuclear energy, because if we’re serious about rapid decarbonisation, it’s a part of the equation.
Novara Media 3rd Dec 2020 read more »